When we went to Coney Isalnd it was primarily to go to Nathan’s where the preferred menu was fried shrimp in a cup, chow mein on a bun, and, of course—French Fries. Then next door for the banana, pineapple, etc. frozen custard. Finally, we would be dragged by my bingo playing mother to one of the Fascination parlors, where your rolled black rubber balls down the table and tried to get them to fall into holes. The first person in the establishment to get three in a row won. The bells would ring and the game refused to register any more hits, unitl the winner was paid off in coupons redeemable for junk such as those black cat clocks. Then a new game would begin.
Sunday’s in Coney Island Coney Island … the land of the Jewish Accents. My Grandfather lived in Coney Island, and every Sunday, my cousins and I would visit him. He would walk us along the boardwalk, (while our parents lounged on the beach) and introduce us to his friends sitting on the benches. Since everyone of my grandfather’s friends had a Jewish accent, I always thought that I too, would acquire one as I grew older. (So far, I haven’t!) Amidst the smell of sea air and the happy noises of people walking, talking, and realaxing on a Sunday afternoon, my grandfather took us into the open storefronts along the boardwalk, and bought us Potato knishes. After, he’d take us into the arcade, where we played games, collected tickets for points, and excitedly turned them in for a chosen toy or two …
I remember it well.. Steeplchase was where my Irish grandfather worked. we got in free, and had the round punchcards to deal with.. I loved the slide with all the spinning disks at the end.. Also the Horse race, and like you said, the air thing.. Banana custard, Nathans, and pink popcorn still make my mouth water.. Not to mention, when we were kids, and going up the first hill on the Tornado Coaster, “look to the left” was said buy the guys.. It was a nude sun thing for whatever we kids could see.. 🙂
My parents were really great with me. I was allowed to go to Steeplechase myself at an early age. And though my folks gave me some money for the admission I would always try to scrounge up some extra. This was easy for me because I lived right by the beach in Brighton Beach. I would either collect soda bottles for their deposit returns ($.02) or I’d sell old comics to the kids going to the beach. At Steeplechase I was always hitting the trash cans. Here I would always find those big round tickets with holes to punch for each attraction with at least one or two holes left in it. This made sure my day at Steeplechase Park would be a long one. My favorite rides were the giant slides. My favorite attraction was the clown stage. Here rider coming off the steeplechase horse ride would have to confront a clown. As they exited the ride they would have to walk across the stage. The clown if he was good would get the women to stop over an air hose in the floor and when the clown would activate it their skirts would fly up